I found that pressung at 3 psi (and, accidentally, 6) was really quite effective... Next time I'll "meaure twice and cut once" and ramp it up to 3 psi without going first to 6..
Initally I just moved my cheese into a dutch oven, filled with the whey from making the cheese and pressed under a few lbs ( I used a #10 can of veggies and a milk jug full of water) to get an initial knit of the curds...
When I moved to the monster press, it was quite obvious (as whey came streaming out of the hoop) that the curds would be quite tightly packed. It went from about 6" (8" round, 6" high) to about 4 quite quickly... After I was done pressing overnight it was about 3". All in all it weighed 3.1 lbs when done, prior to going into the brine. After going into saturated brine for 12 hours (1 lb salt to 2 quarts water) and air-drying in my pantry for 3-4 days, it was down to about 2.3 lbs.
I used the following recipe (shamelessly stolen from elsewhere on the board and slightly modified to add flora danica):
4 Gallon Whole Milk
1/4 tsp. MM100 Culture
1/8 tsp Flora Danica
2 tsp Calcium Chloride mixed in ¼ cup distilled water
1/16 tsp Annatto mixed in ¼ cup distilled water
3/4 tsp liquid veal rennet dissolved in ¼ cup distilled water
Heat milk to 86 degrees
Add colorant and mix well
Add MM100 culture and Flora Danicaand float for 2 minutes
Stir in culture using 25 up and down strokes
Allow milk to ripen for 5 minutes
Add Calcium Chloride
5 minutes later add Rennet and stir for 1 minute
Check for flocculation and use multiplier of 3 to determine time to cut
Check for clean break and cut to 3/8”
Heal curd for 5 minutes
Gently stir curd for approx. 20 minutes while checking Ph.
During this time heat pot of water to 130 degrees on stove.
You are looking for a whey Ph of 6.4 to 6.45 before moving to next step
At Ph 6.4 – 6.45 Drain 5 cups of whey and replace with 5 cups of 130 degree water.
Wait 5 minutes and Drain 6 cups of whey and replace with 6 cups of 130 degree water.
Wait 5 minutes and drain 6 cups of whey and replace with 6 cups of 130 degree water.
You will have drained the whey 3 times at the end of this process.
Whey temp should be at 100 – 102 degrees at this point.
If not at 100 – 102 heat the curds and whey to this temperature.
Continue to stir for 20 minutes after 102 is reached. Only stir occasionally.
Allow curd to settle for 5 minutes.
Drain whey to 2 inches above the curd mass.
Press curd under whey for 10 minutes using approx. 8 lbs. Of weight.
Drain whey very well before putting into hoop.
Break up curd mass to fit in cloth lined hoop and use the following to press:
30 minutes at 2 p.s.i.
30 minutes at 4 p.s.i.
Approximately 3 hours at 4 p.s.i. or until whey Ph reaches 5.6 – 5.7 (curd Ph = 5.4 – 5.5)
WHEY PH SHOULD BE 5.6 – 5.7 AT END OF PRESSING!!
Remove from press and float wheel in a saturated brine solution for 3 – 4 hours PER POUND of cheese. (first attempt required 16 hour brine time using 4 hr. per pound).
Age cheese for 2 weeks – 2 months before consuming.
Vacuum bag cheese after air drying for 1 – 3 days or until dry to the touch.